Perseids, 2010

Posted July 21, 2010 by User 1

It's that time of year again, the annual, world famous (and world-wide) summer shower of meteors. Or at least the strongest one. The Perseids have been known and observed for thousands of years. As with all meteor showers, their name comes from the shower's radiant or where all meteors appear to originate from; in this case, Perseus. They are visible every year from mid-July all the way to September peaking in mid-August.

These meteors originate from a stream of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle as it orbits the sun every 133 years. The comet is known for passing extremely close to the Earth and has even been called "the single most dangerous object known to humanity." It's unlikely to affect any of us during our lifetimes as its next pass is in 2126. (but will make a spectacular appearance then) The closeness of the comet's orbit means we pass through its trail of debris every year giving us spectacular meteor showers.

Last year along with the year before, there was remarkable activity with a peak of over 200 meteors per hour. We can expect a lesser total this year of just 100 but with the added advantage of no moon. (there was a bright gibbous moon last year) The peak is expected for the mornings of August 12 and 13. However, the shower has already begun with current estimates of 5-7 meteors per hour. - See page 9


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